Family Of 23-Year-Old Who Died From Ulcer Gets $30M

23-year-old Hannah Waite died in 2015 at Kindred Hospital in Tampa, following a two-month delay in treating a small intestinal ulcer. Exactly nine years to the day of her death, a Hillsborough County jury determined that her doctors were liable for her death and awarded her parents a $30 million verdict.

Young woman in hospital bed

ByErin O'Brien


Published on March 20, 2024

Young woman in hospital bed

Case Outline

Hannah Waite was admitted to Kindred Hospital on Dec. 11, 2014, from Tampa General, according to the amended complaint filed in December 2017 in Hillsborough County Circuit Court. The case is entitled Waite v. Shaikh et al., case number 17-CA-010281, in the 13th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida.

Hannah died on Feb. 14, 2015, from septic shock due to an erosive small intestine ulcer. She had been transferred to Kindred, a long-term care facility, from Tampa General Hospital. TGH doctors found the ulcer during an endoscopy and listed it as her most urgent medical issue. The discharge summary from Tampa General Hospital indicated an endoscopy was required to be performed no later than January 5, 2015.

According to the suit, following the transfer, Hannah never received the endoscopy. Instead of treating Waite’s ulcer, her doctors, Rabia Shaikh and Andrew Daley treated Waite for constipation, nausea, and vomiting, which was caused by a drug they prescribed,

The plaintiffs said Hannah Waite suffered from complex regional pain syndrome due to a previous spinal cord injury. Shaikh, Daley, and other hospital staff never consulted with a pain management professional and wrongly attributed Ms. Waite's nausea and malnutrition to the quantity of narcotic drugs administered to treat her CRPS. The complaint alleged that the doctors failed to diagnose or treat the underlying cause, but instead ordered Hannah’s pain medication to be reduced, and that she be administered a higher dose of anti-nausea medicine.

Lesley Waite had been designated as her daughter's attorney in fact and health care surrogate. She was authorized and expected to receive information regarding her daughter's medical care and treatment, but stated she was never told about the change in her daughter’s medications. The patient’s nutritional status continued to deteriorate while under the care of doctors Daley and Shaikh. In the weeks prior to her death, she developed sepsis. The day before she died, a nurse practitioner noted that her mental state was altered. Shaikh then had her transported to a separate facility with an order for a brain scan, against the mother’s wishes. The scan was read as clean.

Hannah then returned to Kindred Hospital, where she died Feb. 14, 2015. Her mother requested a private autopsy and ultimately learned that her daughter had an untreated ulcer. After two months with no endoscopy and treatment, her ulcer perforated the small intestinal wall, spilling toxic body waste into her blood. The family’s attorney, Steve Yerrid said the ulcer was ignored, as were TGH’s orders. Left without care, the ulcer created a hole in her GI tract. The cause of death was later listed as intoxication by promethazine and hydromorphone, the drugs she had been prescribed at Kindred.

Expert Involvement

The complaint states that Ms. Waite was brought to Kindred for treatment of chronic pain, Crohn's disease, and changes in her medical condition. According to the experts, the physicians were treating her pain but not looking to find the cause. Waite had immense difficulty eating and remained malnourished throughout her stay.

An expert in forensic pathology testified at trial that a perforated ulcer caused Ms. Waite's death, according to plaintiff attorney Dickey. A standard of care expert witness testified that the doctors should have paid attention when Waite's condition worsened despite the decrease in pain narcotics and increase in anti-nausea medication. Protracted nausea and vomiting continued as her nutritional state progressively deteriorated. She developed severe malnutrition, according to the expert, causing the young woman to starve to death.

No settlement was offered by the doctors, although the plaintiffs offered to settle for $250,000 from each. The case went on to an eight-day-long civil jury trial with the jury deciding that Shaikh should be held responsible for 70% of the damages awarded and Daley 30%. An attorney for Shaikh and Daley declined to comment on the verdict, as did a spokesperson for Scion Health, the company that owns Kindred Hospitals.

The verdict awarded $15 million in damages each to Ms. Waite’s parents, Lesley, and Andrew Waite for emotional pain and suffering. The jury granted the parents an additional $7,205 to pay for their daughter's funeral. Waite's parents were represented by David D. Dickey and Charles Yerrid of The Yerrid Law Firm PA. The defendants’ lawyers were Edwin P. Gale and Tyler Batteese of Batteese Agliano & Gale PLLC.

About the author

Erin O'Brien

Erin O'Brien

Erin O'Brien is a senior medico-legal writer and editor, with 25 years of experience authoring healthcare deliverables. Previously, Erin authored an award-winning column in the health and wellness sector, guest hosted a wellness radio show, and received an FMA Charlie Award for Excellence in Writing.

Erin has reviewed and completed case studies for thousands of medical malpractice cases, both plaintiff and defense nationwide, and was presented the US Chamber of Commerce Best Small Business Blue Ribbon designation.  Erin is an experienced Medical Risk Consultant and device start-up project manager. She has consulted for numerous successful healthcare and bio-tech start-ups. After completing a Bachelor of Science degree at the University Of Wisconsin, Erin pursued an educational background in Healthcare Risk Management at the University of South Florida. Erin crafts her work with attention to detail, readability, healthcare marketing regulations, and medical standard of care.

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